OBJECT SYSTEMS GROUP
The HyperNews project is a collaboration project between the Centre
Universitaire d'Informatique of the University
of Geneva and the weekly magazine L'Hebdo.HyperNews, together with the ASAP
and KryPict projects, is part of the MEDIA
project supported by the Swiss Priority Programme for Information and Communication
Structures (SPP-ICS). The objective of the MEDIA project is to develop
a system for archiving and dissemination of electronic documents under
similar conditions as printed documents, using an agent-based, distributed,
and secure platform.
The HyperNews project aims at developing an electronic newspaper environment
based on agent technology for the WWW. This environment will offer the
information providers of newspapers, magazines and alike the means to commercialize
electronically the information they hold under similar commercial conditions
as the printed versions. It will also offer the information consumers the
means to reduce the time spent in retrieving the information for which
they have expressed interest without being tied to a specific information
The information consumers and providers run an agent execution platform
on which the different components of the hypernews system execute as software
agents. The mobile agents are used to encapsulate the data in hypernews
article agents and to update specific software agents bound to the information
providers. The resulting article agents can be distributed and duplicated
at will (superdistribution) since the access to the content is bound to
the payment. This is achieved through a scheme that enforces copyright
control and payment at the time the information is accessed for reading,
instead of the traditional way where the copyright control and payment
is done at the moment the reader downloads the information. Such an environment
offers the newspaper and magazine publishing industry the means to commercialize
their information, which can range from individual news articles to complete
magazines and books, in a way that enforces copyright control and guarantees
revenue collection. Moreover, it offers the information consumer an interface
which is both vendor independent and customized according to the
Requirements for a
The requirements for a commercial electronic magazine can be seen from
two points of view: the information consumer's (the reader), and the information
provider's (the publisher). The reader of an electronic magazine should
be able to:
commercial electronic magazine
The information provider (publisher of an electronic magazine), on the
other hand should be able to:
choose his information providers and specify his information interests
independently for every provider.
define the presentation structure of his electronic-newspaper or magazine.
be notified when information updates are available on issues of interest.
access the historical evolution of an article.
retain full anonymity when reading an article.
pay only for the articles he chooses to read.
hold and distribute articles to other readers without breaking copyright
access, without having to pay again, articles he has already paid for.
publish new articles or commentaries embedding articles of other providers
together with his own added value.
produce on demand copies of electronic articles in a cost effective way.
easily transform existing electronic material into self contained electronic
collect revenue from his electronic publishing activity and protect his
intellectual property and copyrights against illegal access and use.
accommodate and customize marketing policies and article prices.
offer high service availability to information consumers.
Architecture of HyperNews
In order to fulfil the above requirements we have designed and are currently
implementing in java an electronic-newspaper system based on agents. The
overall system architecture is composed of three layers as shown graphically
in Figure 1.
The lowest gray shaded layer is the agent layer representing the underlying
agent infrastructure over which the hypernews system is implemented. The
second layer, the core environment, is the basic building block
of the hypernews system. It enables the safe and secure distribution and
exchange of electronic documents (i.e., hypernews articles). The top layer,
the hypernews application layer, implements the various tools and applications
bound to the hypernews system. These tools are the interface to the users.
The first phase of the project was completed in April 1998, and a full
prototype has been implemented. The developed system is composed of a general
purpose framework for the commercial exchange of arbitrary electronic information
and, an electronic newspaper application build on top of it. The second
phase of the project will start in June 1998 and targets towards the generalization
of the system for the commercialization of arbitrary electronic documents,
like books and commercial reports, and in the study, design and integration
of off-line payment mechanisms.
The developed electronic newspaper applications, HyperNews, is implemented
in Java allowing the readers to access the electronic newspaper over their
WWW browser. An example of the article selection and article purchase screen
is given in the screen-captures shown bellow.
A complete and up to date list of publications of the HyperNews project
can be found
Dissemination of the HyperNews Approach
Presentation of the system at the Computer 98 exposition
in the WEBDO mag of April 1998
Interview of J.-H. Morin to Pierre-Philippe Cadert, Jean-Marc Sandoz et
Village Global, Radio Suisse Romande La Première, May 16, 1998
Article by Adrien Bron at the Tribune de Genève, June 10, 1998,
Un Genevois bouleverse les médias électroniques
Presentations of the HyperNews Approach
University and Industrial Partners: Multimedia Communications,
Object Systems, Computer Vision and Theoretical Computer Science groups,
CUI, University of Geneva (D. Tsichritzis, D. Konstantas, T. Pun, J. Rolim);
Digital Copyright Technologies, Zurich (A. Herrigel);
- End-users: L'Hebdo,
Laussane (J. Rossi);
Cooperation with other institutes: Foundation of Research and Technology
- FORTH, Heraklion-Greece;